Q: When does Thunder Football start? What is the time commitment? When and Where are the games?

A: Thunder football practice begins in the first week of August. How often a team practices is left up to the coach but it is most common that teams will practice 3x per week for 1-2hrs per session. Once the season starts in September games are on Sundays. This makes Thunder football a 4 day a week commitment during the season running from Labor Day through Thanksgiving and including Columbus Day Weekend. Thunder football is a travel sport that plays home games at Community Park or Stewart Field in Garden City and away games in towns throughout Nassau County.

Q: I registered my child online. When will I hear from his coach?

A: After you register your child online you should receive a confirmation email.  A welcome letter and medical form for registered players will be emailed to you the first week of June. Coaches are decided between June and July. You will hear from your child's football coach by the first week of July.

Q: How are teams picked when you have more than one team in an age division? What if I want my child to play for a specific coach?

A: If there are multiple Thunder 7s teams then we will divide those teams as evenly as possible based on an August evaluation period. New players in older teams will be split between June and July for age groups with multiple teams. The teams will be divided as evenly as possible but we will take into account that one team may be seeded higher and play a tougher schedule. Thunder does not build a team with all of the most skilled players on one team. We do NOT honor special requests unless a child has a specific need essential to his health and safety. The Directors have final approval on all player placements. The NCYFL will refer to one team as “A” and the other as “B” but Thunder does not refer to the teams that way. We ask that the parents and players do not either.

Q: My son is very small for his age / My son is old for his grade. Can he play down one age level? What if he only misses the cutoff by one day because he has a November 30th birthday?

A: No, there are NO exceptions to the age or weight limits for each division, except that a heavy player unable to make the weight in his proper age division may play up one (only one) age division. Remember the weights are MAXIMUM weights, not minimum weights - so players are eligible if they are UNDER the weight, but not over.

Q: What is the Thunder refund policy for registration fees?

A: Refunds are only offered if we are informed your child is not playing BEFORE the season starts. Any funds directed towards expenses such as jersey printing will be subtracted from the refund.

Q: What are acceptable proofs of birth for the NCYFL Weigh-in to make the roster at the beginning of the season?

A: ORIGINAL Passport, ORIGINAL Birth Certificate, or an ORIGINAL government document denoting proper birth date (such as an immigration document). All age-related info will be uploaded to the National Sports ID website for verification.


Note: Any alteration to the basic Thunder uniform by a coach or parent is prohibited by the Thunder and NCYFL Football League rules. Rules regarding permissible equipment are regularly checked at the weigh-in on game day and players found in violation are not allowed to play in the game.

Q: What Equipment do I need and where can I get it?

A: Each player will need:

  • White Football Helmet with maroon face mask and chinstrap (Available at Thunder Equipment Day)
  • Shoulder Pads (Available at Thunder Equipment Day)
  • Mouthpiece connected to Facemask
  • Solid White Football Game Pants (Fully Integrated with pads)
  • Black Football Practice Pants (Fully Integrated with pads)
  • Protective Cup
  • Cleats (molded plastic or rubber cleats only, no screw-in or metal cleats)

Optional Equipment:

  • Rib pads (built into shirt are recommended)
  • Receiver or Lineman gloves
  • Arm pads
  • Cold Gear for under their uniform
  • The Thunder Program will provide the players with Under Armour home/away game jerseys.  Maroon socks will be provided for all players as well as pink socks to wear in October.  All extra game day gear will need to be neutral or Thunder Football colors of Maroon, White, Black, or Gray. We recommend Under Armour pants to match our Under Armour Jerseys but all brands are acceptable.

Thunder will host an “Equipment Day” during the summer when a representative from Riddell will be on hand for the purchase of a helmet and shoulder pads. All other equipment can be found at Dicks Sporting Goods or various online options.

Q: Why do I need to get my son a new football helmet every 2 years?

A: Most scholastic football programs recondition their helmets every 1-2 years. Because the Thunder is run entirely by volunteers, we do not maintain a helmet reconditioning program. Also, it is not practical to have volunteers who may lack proper training and experience to be responsible for fitting helmets on the players each year. Likewise, it is not practical to leave reconditioning up to the individual parents of 250+ players. Thus, we have instituted a practice requiring that they be replaced with a newly purchased helmet every 2 years. To make this easier, we have a representative from Riddell come in person each summer to Garden City to fit new Riddell helmets on the players at a discount to the retail price and repurchase old Riddell helmets for cash.

Q: What cleats should I buy for football?

A: NO screw-in "chock" style cleats or metal cleats of any kind are allowed. League rules require that cleats must be molded rubber or plastic. When this violation is caught at the game weigh-in or during the game the player is suspended from the game.

Q: What are the rules about mouthpieces?

A: Mouthpieces must be colored (i.e. not clear) so they are easily visible to the referees, and they must be attached to the face mask of the helmet. If an unattached mouthpiece is noticed by the referee in the game it is a penalty. There is one exception: if a child needs a special orthodontic mouthpiece because he wears braces AND he has a prescription from his dentist (of which we would need a copy), he can wear a mouthpiece that is not attached. Also, the dentist must write in the prescription that the child may play football.

Q: Can a player wear a helmet color other than plain white? Can a player wear a plastic visor on his helmet facemask?

A: All Thunder helmets must be PLAIN WHITE with "Thunder" graphic decals only. There should be no "reward" or other stickers of any kind. Visors are allowed but must be CLEAR, NOT TINTED. See the Helmet Policy on this site for further questions.

Q: Can I have my son's name put on the back of his jersey?

A: No. The Thunder program believes in the long football tradition of "team before player" and has kept its own tradition of having no player identified by name on their game jerseys. The Thunder promotes the idea that no extra attention should be paid to an individual for their play on the field. Garden City High School also follows this tradition.

Q: Can my son wear extra elbow, hand, or knee pads in the games without violating the uniform rules?

A: Yes, but if he is in danger of exceeding the max weight at the gameday weigh-in because of the extra pads, be aware that he is allowed to weigh in without the extra pads, then put them on so long as it is done at the weigh-in area in the presence of the opposing coaching staff.

Q: Can I modify my son's equipment to help him make game weight, like cut down his knee or hip pads, have him wear lacrosse shoulder pads, etc?

A: No. Any illegal modification to equipment for any reason compromises the player's safety and will result in the player being ejected from the game and the player's Head Coach being suspended for the season even if the Head Coach was not aware of the situation. So please, don't put your son's safety or your Head Coach at risk.


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